A couple of weeks ago I wrote about marriage, forgetting to mention some of the important things that happen before a couple actually gets married. There are steps you must take. These steps come before the ring goes on the fingers and glued on, hopefully forever.
I ran into three couples at work this past week, all in different stages of their relationships. One couple was married 6 months, one couple was living together and the other was getting ready to move in together. The dynamics were so different between all of them that I had to do this follow up column.
Being the keen observer of people that I am, I tend to notice things that mere mortals don't, or can't see. Sometimes they are so subtle, simmering on the surface, or lurking underneath it that I have to look oh so carefully, as not to make a misstep and say the wrong thing. Often, the couple in question will volunteer all the information I need, letting me ask other questions to fulfill their wants, needs and desires.
Before you think what I know you're thinking, I'm in retail sales and deal with lots of different people every day. Sort of like being a psychologist without a degree, but not making $50 or more an hour.
Let's call couple number one Minka and Shelly. They share a house with Shelly's mom. They redid the first floor to make it reflect their needs. It was clear from the beginning that Minka was the decision maker, or as Shelly said, the boss. He wanted to be involved in the decisions, but was always looking to Minka to make the final call.
I told them this is just the beginning of a long journey they have together, so get used to the give and take, the arguments, the fights and then the making up. That's always the fun part in my opinion. Make up sex is the best.
The next couple is just moving in together and we will call them Tony and Veronica. It is his house, and Veronica is trying to get rid of all his clutter, and put her imprint on the place. I went through the same thing when Marcy moved into my apartment, so I was able to empathize with them. I told Tony if there was anything important he wanted to keep, he should hide it or tell Veronica what it is so she doesn't throw it away. It happens.
My advice is set the boundaries early in the relationship and stick to the boundaries. Although they may be flexible, both Tony and Veronica must respect the boundaries. Veronica said Tony is a wonderful cook, so that's his main job in the house. She is trying to convince him to go to culinary school. Now that is certainly a noble ambition, and I certainly hope it happens.
The last couple is Donald and Mary. They are not living together yet, but are doing so very shortly. They are also planning a wedding. I told Donald to stay out of Mary's way and let her do the majority of the planning. Otherwise, he's just going to be in the way. The one piece of advice I gave them was good and something I learned the hard way.
When looking for a photographer and videographer, make sure you talk to not only the owner of the company, but the person who will take the pictures and do the video as well. Otherwise, utter chaos can ensue. It did at my wedding. I picked a photographer based upon the recommendation of the owners and without meeting him. It was a disaster.
The photographer was arrogant, and on top of that didn't want to listen to anything Marcy or I told him. Because of that, some important pictures and video scenes went unfilmed. You can never replicate that day, and it gets harder when people from that day pass on.
Around our anniversary in July, Marcy and I, along with the kids watch our wedding video and go through the album. Marcy always points out the people that have since died since that day 18 years ago. A morbid sort of game I think, but life goes on.
Watching people is certainly a hobby. It's also part of my job. I enjoy it. I get to meet some nice and not so nice people. I can never say it's not interesting.
The next time you walk into any store and have to deal with a sales associate, be nice to them. They can help you more than you'll ever know. You can't do it by yourselves and if you think you can, good luck. You'll screw it up royally, and then blame anyone and everyone but yourselves.
With any luck, you'll get someone who is honestly interested in what you need and listens to everything you say. Then they'll write about it. That's the fun part.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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